It was clear a 56-28 loss to #6 USC in front of 63,411 at LA Memorial Coliseum that the bigger, badder team that had more team speed, more tempo and more athletes was too much.
That’s what money and resources can afford you, along with a huge recruiting advantage and recent former Arizona Cardinal head coach Kliff Kingsbury on your Trojan staff.
As star Spartan QB Chevan Cordeiro goes, so does San Jose State football
Though USC and QB Caleb Williams were the big headlines, Cordeiro kept pace well enough; throwing three touchdown passes, all to QB-to-turned-receiver Nick Nash.
“Nick coming from a quarterback position makes him smarter on coverages and he knows where he has to be to make me feel comfortable,” said Cordeiro on praising Nash, who tallied 89 yards and six receptions.
“It’s really special to see Nick continue to flourish,” said SJS head coach Brent Brennan. “The sky’s the limit for him.”
Cordeiro followed a well-scripted offense run by OC Kevin McGiven until the second-half rolled in and Cordeiro was let loose, as the Trojans continued to pull away. Cordeiro threw for 198 yard (21-38) with 52 yards rushing.
“We will always fight all four quarters and never put our heads down,” said Cordeiro. “We just need to watch film, see what we did wrong and learn from it. That’s all we can do. We have a ton of games left and a full season and we’re not going to dwell on this loss.”
All the things the Spartans did wrong were exposed by the caliber of competitor that is USC. Missed special teams coverages, missed assignments, and, of course, dropped passes hindered progress, which was more than enough opportunities to give USC.
Case in point, Williams’ four touchdown passes (18-24, 278 yards) contributed to 501 total yards for USC. And, freshman Trojan receiver Zachariah Branch’s 232 total yards and two TDs also blistered the Spartans. Branch’s speed was a big example exposing the many missed tackles and coverages by SJS.
Brennan’s consistent demeanor of energy and belief
We saw more positives against a high-powered USC team that didn’t take away anything towards the potential of SJS’ season.
“We have a resilient team with some very talented kids on this team,” said Brennan. “I love how we kept on playing and I think there’s going to be some good stuff ahead for this group.”
The Spartans held the ball longer than USC (31:02), collectively ran for 198 yards and had 198 yards receiving. Quali Conley rushed for 108 yards in his debut contributing to the 396 yards of total offense with no turnovers.
You have even more notable accomplishments against one of the best in the country - meaning USC weaknesses were also exposed and should still leave some lingering questions about their defense. Eight Trojan holding penalties was certainly one sign.
Through the ups and downs of the game for San Jose State and despite being down by three touchdowns, they continued to surprise the Trojans.
“No matter if we’re winning or losing, we’re going to keep on fighting,” said Cordeiro.
“We’re fortunate at San Jose State with players who’ve bought into the program,” added Brennan. “A lot of those guys had to go through really hard times, but they continue to work hard and believe in each other and they’ll keep battling for each other like you saw tonight.”
The Spartans face Oregon State next Sunday in another tough matchup.